MECâ€™s renowned Center for Law and Social Justice is in the enviable position of figuring out how to spend $100,000 in general operating support after winning that amount with the Brooklyn Community Foundation‘s annual Spark Prize. The prestigious award recognizes exceptional non-profits rooted in Brooklyn that advance racial and social justice.
CLSJ, one of five organizations receiving the prestigious award in 2018, was honored at a celebration breakfast that included a tribute to Hildy J. Simmons, a philanthropic leader and longtime Brooklyn Community Foundation board member. Â Other Spark Prize winners are the Cave Canem Foundation, Exalt Youth, GRIOT Circle, and the Red Hook Initiative. The center was featured on Spectrum New York One, here.
The Center for Law and Social Justice provides advocacy, training, and expert services in a personal manner. CLSJ also conducts research and initiates advocacy projects and litigation on behalf of community organizations and groups that promote human, national, and international understanding.
The Center recently held a Town Hall Meeting and information session at the College to address â€œtemporary protected status,â€ and other pressing immigration issues. A Black History Month event looked at the historical role of guns in black communities.
The Center for Law and Social Justice is one of the Collegeâ€™s four research and advocacy centers that help burnish MECâ€™s reputation for social justice and aid its mission to meet the social and educational needs of the Central Brooklyn community. The other MEC centers are The Caribbean Research Center; the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy and The Center for Black Literature.
â€œWe are absolutely thrilled to be selected as a winner of the Spark Prize Award,” said Esmeralda Simmons, Esq., founder and executive director of CLSJ. “It is our mission to advocate for and assist African descendant and disenfranchised communities on racial justice issues such as voter rights, educational inequity, police violence, as well as tackling issues that impact women of color, and this award will help us further that mission.
Simmons thanked Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke for aiding social justice initiatives in Brooklyn. She also thanked the Brooklyn community for their continued support.
â€œIt is such an honor to be selected for the Spark Prize alongside these amazing Brooklyn-based organizations,â€ said Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., general counsel at CLSJ. â€œIn this time of political and social upheaval, it is empowering to know that institutions like the Brooklyn Community Foundation are ready and willing to provide support for groups that are engaged in protecting some of our most vulnerable populations.â€
Each Spark Prize recipient was awarded $100,000. The organizations were selected from a pool of over 130 applicants by a 30-member committee of Brooklyn leaders in business, civics and philanthropy.
The Brooklyn Community Foundation, dedicated to Brooklynâ€™s charitable community, partners with donors and community leaders to bolster nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase opportunities for youth.
The Spark Prize, sponsored by TD Bank with support from National Grid, is presented by the Brooklyn Community Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.